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On Moral Discipline.

On Moral Discipline.

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' No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is Jit for the kingdom of God."

— Luke ix. 62.

' No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is Jit for the kingdom of God."

— Luke ix. 62.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jun 07, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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O MORAL DISCIPLIE. BY THE REV. JOH SICLAIR, A.M. ' o man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is Jit for the kingdom of God."  — Luke ix. 62. We are taught in Scripture, to regard this world not only as a state of proba- tion, but of discipline ; not only as a course of Irial, to ascertain our fitness for another life, but also as a course of pre- paration to acquire that fitness ; a school in which certain tastes, and sentiments, and habits, are to be formed, and certain capacities matured, by which we are to become, as St. Paul expresses it, " worthy of the Lord," or endowed with " meet- ness for the inheritance of the saints in light ;" or, according to the expression in the text, " fit for the kingdom of God," suited to its moral excellence, as well as ready for its spiritual occupations and enjoyments. One branch of this ge- neral qualification, or fitness, is here, by our Lord himself, distinctly brought be- fore us, viz. firmness and consistency of character — a kind of moral courage, which, having undertaken a great object, pursues it constantly and perseveringly, without looking back. Our present purpose, however, will be not merely to confine our reflections to this one particular branch of fitness for
heaven, but generally to examine the whole subject of moral discipline, show- ing its analogies with that natural disci- pline, by which men are prepared, in this life, for their several pursuits and occupa- tions throughout society. The analogies between infancy, as a season of educa- tion for riper years, and the present life for the life to come, are various and im- portant. On this occasion, we shall illus- trate four only of the most remarkable and interesting points of correspondence between the state of a child in prepara- tion for manhood, and of man in prepa- ration for eternity. I. Both kinds of discipline are necessary. II. Both are often painful and myste- rious. III. Both admit of no delay i and, IV. Lastly, Both are frequently ineffec- tual. Let us, then, begin with the considera- tion of the first analogy, viz. That the discipline in both cases is necessary. A child, on his first production into the world, is by nature totally incapable of the pleasures and pursuits of manhood. This incapacity pervades equally his phy- sical, his intellectual, and his moral con- stitution. In each of these respects, he must be properly qualified, by a series
of changes and developments, before he can undertake the business of maturer years. His body must be brought, by long continued nourishment and exercise, to manly strength and consistency. His intellect must, by observation, instruction, and reflection, be gradually ripened and matured. His moral faculties, at first wholly dormant, cannot be roused to full activity, till he comprehends sufficiently the relations in which he stands, both to his Creator and to his fellow creatures, 463 464 THE BRITISH PULPIT. together with the duties which those re- lations involve. This unfitness of child- hood for duties and occupations to which it has not yet been trained or disciplined is very forcibly and distinctly remarked upon by St. Paul, in an illustration fami- liar to every scriptural reader ; " When I was a child, I spake as a child, 1 under- stood as a child, 1 thought as a child ; but when I became a man, I put away childish things." Similar to this, my brethren, would be the unfitness of man for a crown of glory in the kingdom of God, were he not pre- pared by the intermediate probationary

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